Tigers trounce Trojans
Hartselle not spectacular, but beats Muscle Shoals 28-0 for Class 5A, Region 8 win
Nick Johnston, Hartselle Enquirer
Muscle Shoals could have wrecked the season.
"Coming off such a tough loss to Russellville, we had a recipe for disaster," head coach Bob Godsey said. "But, the guys wouldn't take it."
The Hartselle Tigers overcame a slow start against the Trojans, but grinded out a 28-0 region win.
"It was a grind it out win," Godsey said. "We needed to have one of those. The thing I'm most pleased with is we kept grinding, kept grinding, kept grinding and stayed patient. Then, we hit the big plays."
Hartselle out-gained Muscle Shoals 446-178 by game's end, but led just 7-0 at halftime.
Quarterback Seth Watson admittedly struggled in the early-goings of Friday night's game, throwing at interception on his first pass.
"First off, we had a lack of communication with the receivers," Watson said, who completed 9 of 18 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns. "You know, my confidence went down a lot after the interception, but I had to realize that play was over with, and there was nothing I can do about it. I had to go on and make the next play."
Watson did make some plays, including a 30-yard touchdown pass to Chris Wiley, and a 28-yard scoring strike to Nikita Stover. Stover led the team receiving with five catches for 105 yards, while Wiley caught three passes for 71 yards.
The Tigers' only score of the first half, though, came by way of running back Isiah Herring. His three-yard plunge with 5:19 remaining until halftime, along with Patrick Whatley's extra point, gave Hartselle a 7-0 lead.
After the two touchdown passes by Watson midway through the third and early in the fourth quarter, Justin Youngblood stepped into the spotlight.
After an eight-play, goal-line stand from the nine-yard line the Tigers took control at the one-yard line. After a short run by Isiah Herring, Youngblood took the handoff, bounced outside and ran down the sideline for a 98-yard touchdown.
"The call was 34, but I saw a hole on the outside and took my chances," Youngblood said. "After that, I just took off and got the touchdown."
Youngblood ended the night rushing for 166 yards on seven carries.
"Justin's been gaining some confidence," Godsey said. "We need everybody firing, though. We need as many people making plays as possible.
"Isiah ran the ball well, Justin ran the ball well, Seth's been sharper, but kept battling and made two beautiful passes for touchdowns."
Hartselle travels to Decatur tonight, as the Red Raiders will try to avenge a 16-0 loss last season to the Tigers.
How They Scored
Hartselle – Isiah Herring 3-yard run (Whatley kick) 5:19.
Hartselle – Seth Watson 30-yard pass to Chris Wiley (Whatley kick) 4:49.
Hartselle – Seth Watson 28-yard pass to Nikita Stover (Whatley kick) 11:02.
Hartselle – Justin Youngblood 98-yard run (Patrick Whatley kick) 3:06.
First Downs 10 11
Rushing Yards 117 256
C-A-I 9-17-0 9-18-1
Passing Yards 61 192
Total Yards 178 446
Fumbles lost 2 0
Penalties-Yards 3-29 5-45
Rushing: Muscle Shoals – Ta Goodloe 11-60, Joseph Reid 11-51, Emmanuel Allen 8-12, Josh Wilson 1-4, Brad Goodloe 2-1, Blane Thomason 3-(-9), Spencer Wooten 1-(-11). Hartselle – Justin Youngblood 7-166, Isiah Herring 16-74, Nikita Stover 2-12, Hunter Corum 2-9, Gary Orr 1-6.
Passing: Muscle Shoals – Spencer Wooten 6-12-0, 32 yards; Blane Thomason 3-5-0, 29 yards. Hartselle – Seth Watson 9-18-1, 192 yards, two touchdowns.
Receiving: Muscle Shoals – Joseph Reid 2-36, Kyle Ebner 4-13, Tyler Jones 2-9, Ta Goodloe 2-5. Hartselle – Nikita Stover 5-107, Chris Wiley 3-71, Isiah Herring 1-14.